Melksham Court

Sleeps 20-30 Gloucestershire, Cotswolds

Palaces, pampering and potting

Wear the kids out at the Alpaca Experience, at the Cotswold Wildlife Park or Bristol Zoo. Go climbing and caving at Warehouse or paint a pot at Nailsworth. Grown-ups can go all grand designs at Blenheim Palace or Berkeley Castle, shop in upmarket Montpellier, or stay on site for pampering and potting.

Palaces, pampering and potting Palaces, pampering and potting Palaces, pampering and potting Palaces, pampering and potting

Country kids

There’s plenty on site in the way of woodland adventures, secret escapes and hidey-holes to keep kids going for days. But you can feed their minds and memory-banks, too, with trips out past the honey-coloured cottages to farm parks, castles, zoos and museums. Dad can carry them up to bed as mum uncorks the wine.

Kick things off at the Alpaca Experience, with a little bit of grooming and walking, then keep the animal encounters going at Bristol Zoo for lions, tigers, gorillas, penguins and pandas. You can have another wild and wonderful time seeing 260 different species at Cotswold Wildlife Park.

Enjoy a family day out with activities and animals to see at Cattle Country. Steam your way through the countryside on the Avon Valley Railway, explore the cliffs and subterranean stalactite show caves at Cheddar Gorge, or try the Cotswold Water Park for the inland beach, bouncy castles and zorb balls.

Try indoor climbing and caving at the Warehouse Climbing Centre, paint personalised gifts at Paint-a-Pot in Nailsworth, or keep boys large and small happy with a trip to the Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection, with exhibits ranging from Rileys and Rovers to a fleet of pedal cars.

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For the grown ups

Grown-ups have plenty of grand designs to explore, not least Blenheim Palace, where Sir Winston Churchill came into the world. Check out the Capability-Brown grounds, palace, railway, maze and lake. In the same vein, Berkeley Castle, Sudeley Castle and Bowood House and Gardens are also worth a trip back in time.

Time-travel even further, back to the Roman era at Cirencester’s Corinium Museum, where child-friendly interactive displays tell the story of our second-largest Roman town. For yet more history-based culture, head out to Gloucester Museum and Art Gallery, Dean Heritage Centre or Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum.

Take a day trip to see the dreaming spires of Oxford, check out the home of the Bard at Stratford-upon-Avon, or see the halls made famous by Harry Potter at Gloucester Cathedral. Lose half a day or so in the Jet Age Museum and a full millennium at Tewkesbury Abbey. Or just potter the arty villages with their tea shops and antiques.

Shop in Cheltenham at the Promenade and fancy Montpellier district, at Daylesford Farmshop or at the uber-cool Jaffé and Neal bookshop-cum-café in Chipping Norton. As dusk falls, try Lily Gin’s in Cheltenham for music and magic, Gifford’s Circus for quirky thrills, or just pop out to the pub for craft ales and friendly banter.

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